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Mr. Darcy's Proposal Paperback – September 22, 2011
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About the Author
Ms. Mason-Milks says, “Writing stories inspired by Austen’s books offers a way to spend more time with characters I’ve grown to love. Just because the book ends, it doesn’t have to be the end of the story.” In addition to writing, her other loves include singing in "a cappella joy" (a women's barbershop chorus), reading, and yoga. She currently lives in Seattle with her husband and their three cats. In addition to her blog at http://www.austen-whatif-stories.com, she is also part of a group blog called austenauthors.net.
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In their early discussions, Darcy and Elizabeth are both candid, and Darcy makes great efforts to improve his behavior; he is loving but restrained with Elizabeth (having determined that he will not take her to bed until she has learned to love him). Elizabeth doesn’t understand why they are not sharing a bed, nor the impact of the sexual tension (not that she recognizes it as such). It’s obvious that she’s not going to figure out that she’s learning to love him.
Their relationship starts to erode when they move to Pemberley where Darcy is used to making all the decisions on his own. One example (of ever so many): Elizabeth (authorized by Darcy to make any changes she wants) spends a day rearranging the furniture in a drawing room; the next day it is back to the original layout. Mrs. Reynolds tells Elizabeth, when she asks, that Darcy ordered it so. This rankles Elizabeth, but she doesn’t mention it to Darcy. And it was at this point that I realized I didn’t recognize either of the main characters. While I could see a concerned Darcy hedging Elizabeth in with unexplained restrictions (not to walk alone, etc.), it seemed impossible that he didn’t recognize this action as undermining her authority with the servants (even if he didn’t figure out that her feelings would be hurt). And, if the change bothered him (and, indeed, why should it?), why not just say so? And why wasn’t Elizabeth talking to him about it? This sort of situation (over and over) became inexplicable.
There are a few examples of the misplaced apostrophes (especially using them to make plurals) so common in Jane Austen fan fiction, and a few other minor errors, but generally this work does not have problems with basic grammar—which makes it much easier to read.
My sympathies were definitely with Darcy, but saying that, his patience was really more than a normal, healthy, hormone driven male could possibly exhibit. Yes, Mr Darcy of Pemberley is nothing if not a gentleman...a gentleman in love, no less, and one who wants to be sure of his beloved's true affection for him before he claims his marital rights. But to be around such temptation and not to get any relief, must have made the man resort to some self-help. One can only imagine what gentleman Darcy got up to in the privacy of his own chambers. But of course, a gentleman would never admit to any such activity.
Lizzy was very frustrating to me, the reader, too. She eventually came to the conclusion that she loved her husband deeply, but for such a clever young woman, she certainly took her time to put all the clues that her man was an excellent one, together
At one stage, Lizzy overhears two maids gossiping about an old scandal where Darcy's father paid one of the Earl of Matlock's workers a large sum of money to marry a Pemberley maid who found herself in the Family Way. The whispers were that either the young master or George Wickham had compromised the young girl. So, naturally, Lizzy jumps to the conclusion that the culprit must have been Darcy. She did not even consider Wickham, even knowing from very early on in the novel, about his wicked ways and his history with the Darcy family. Lizzy could also have gone to Mrs Reynolds, with whom she has a very good relationship, and admit she overheard the conversation and would like to know the details. she did not have to say she suspected her husband, of any wrongdoing, and she would have learned the particulars from the old housekeeper. Unless, of course, Lizzy thought Mrs Reynolds might lie to protect Darcy. But I feel that the astute Mrs Darcy would be sure to know if the lady was lying.
Darcy also became the height of frustration after he became aware that Lizzy had finally come to love him. He just could not believe the truth: and so it went on and on and on...
I loved the portrayals of all of the secondary characters; they were all just as I imagine them to be. Lady Catherine, Mrs Bennet, Caroline Bingley, Wickham and Lydia have no redeeming qualities; they were all deliciously ghastly. Jane, Bingley, the Earl of Matlock and his whole family, especially the Colonel, Georgiana and the Gardiners were wonderfully portrayed and even Mary and Kitty became more sensible and demure as time went on.
I would have given the novel 3 and 1/2 stars, but I do not know how to record 1/2 a star. But perhaps that 1/2 star should be omitted after all because I am not sure I can forgive the author for not disclosing the outcome of whether the poor, unfortunate Hardy was dismissed or not!
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